Cristine Chandler

Cristine Chandler

Cristine Chandler passed away at home, in her sleep, on Thursday morning, July 26. Jim, her husband of almost 30 years, was at her side.

For the past five years, Cristine and Jim have lived on Orcas Island. Cristine was president of the Buck Mountain Home Owners Association and had served as president of Kaleidoscope Early Childhood Center.

Cristine was born in Tulsa, Okla. February 13, 1950. She received her bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt University and her master’s degree in experimental psychology from Western Washington University. Cristine graduated from the University of Denver in 1981, earning two PhDs, one in clinical and the other in developmental psychology.

Cristine and Jim lived in Rochester, New York, from 1981 to 1993 where Cristine held academic and clinical appointments in the departments of psychology, education, psychiatry and pediatrics at the University of Rochester. She worked as a psychologist in the University Affiliated Clinic for Developmental and Learning Disorders. She also maintained a private practice in parenting and adult psychotherapy. From 1993 to 2005, Cristine was in private practice in Philadelphia, where she worked with hundreds of families, children and adult patients.

Early in her career, Cristine realized that the most effective way to help children with discipline problems was to work effectively with their parents. With her in-depth understanding of what motivates behavior change, she honed her philosophy of discipline into a clear and effective set of parenting techniques tailored to stages of child development. In 2004, Cristine described these proven strategies with clarity and conviction in her widely acclaimed book, Four Weeks to a Better Behaved Child. It has been translated into five languages. One of the world’s leading pediatricians wrote about her book: “Generations of parents and children will benefit from this important guide.” 

Cristine is survived by her husband Jim; her sister, Nancy Morrison and brother-in-law Michael, who live in Tulsa, Okla.; her nieces Marnie Morrison Fitzgerald and Jennifer Morrison McClellan; grand nieces Livi, Annabel and Sarah; her sister Susan Buck and brother-in–law Jim, who live in Sarasota, Florida; and her step-mother Francis Chandler who lives in Tulsa.

Cristine’s family and friends have shared the following about her life.

Cristine’s brilliance showed in ways beyond her academic credentials and professional accomplishments. She had a way of communicating knowledge clearly and gently. She was always reading, listening and seeking to learn more. She was committed to sharing her gifts to benefit others.

The family portrait (at left) with this biography was taken three days before her passing and helps tell parts of Cristine’s story. Between 1981 and 1984, Cristine brought Jim annually to the Northwest and to Orcas Island. During these July or August trips she “convinced” him that they belonged on Orcas Island. On their last trip, they were able to purchase a beautiful piece of land on top of Buck Mountain where this picture was taken. This land and the home they built on it will always hold her spirit.

Just three months before her passing, Cristine “convinced” Jim that their beloved kitties – Cecil (15) and Alice (6) – would benefit from two additional siblings. Phoebe and Lillian (the latter named after Cristine’s grandmother) became part of the family in late June.

Cristine finished her life at home, on a beautiful July morning, with her kitties and her husband. She was grateful to be in that beautiful space and grateful to be a part of a loving and mindful community. We are all grateful she was living her kind and courageous life with us one day at a time.

Since Cristine deeply cared about mental health care and affordable housing on the island, if you wish to make a contribution to honor Cristine’s memory, please send your contribution to the Orcas Island Community Foundation, in memory of Cristine Chandler, at P.O. Box 1496, Eastsound, Wash. 98245.